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From the bench to the internet, how are our CIVIS universities coping with the digital shift?

22 abril 2020
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to our society and many sectors including Higher Education. To protect our students and university staff, and flatten the curve, our CIVIS member universities have rapidly taken the decision to close their campuses and facilities leading to challenges they have never encountered before.

Quoting our CIVIS President, Prof. Astrid Söderbergh Widding from her blog when daily activities are limited and our societies get shut down, the exchanges between researchers and students become even more important

Indeed, to solve these challenges and carry on the missions of teaching, research and innovation, our universities have, in no time, taken inventive actions to best cope with the digital shift caused by the coronavirus with the complete support of their IT teams.

Although the crisis has affected the development of the European university initiative demanding us to reconsider some of our activities (postponement of calls for proposals, training sessions for staff...), the project teams are pursuing their work through regular virtual meetings and the use of new collaborative online tools. 

The global health situation has certainly slowed down our activities but more importantly, it has strengthened our will to foster collaboration in research and education towards a deeper level with the rise of solidarity actions and research projects.

“The far-reaching digital shift [...] is inspiring and gives hope: it is indeed possible to change our habits of communicating. This will also in the long term be of great benefit for the climate.”

The development of the CIVIS platform in the next three years, which will operate as a digital campus for our students, teachers, researchers and stakeholders will play a key instrument in this regard. So stay tuned!

Digital actions and stories from our universities
This article will be regularly updated with new initiatives.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

  • Digital transformation is in full swing

Online classes and meetings are already in full swing. To facilitate off-campus teaching and learning activities, the IT Centre implemented various technological solutions for professors, students and administrative staff, and provided tips and advice for university teachers on online teaching with additional tools, services and guidelines:

University of Bucharest

  • Guide for a digital shift of educational activities

The Online Educational Activities Coordination Group (that works during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure a swift transition to digital of educational activities) has developed the guide entitled ”Recommendations for supporting online educational activities”, designed to support the university staff in using the advanced digital solutions provided by the UB. It can be used as a handbook for all stages of teaching activities, from the preparation and delivery of lectures to evaluation of students.

  • Online Campus UB

It is designed as an online campus that incorporates resources students and professors use in their educational activities. From access on Moodle, GSuite for Education and Microsoft 365 for Education, to access to online libraries and scientific data bases, the online campus provides a virtual common space that can be also used after the pandemic is over.

Université libre de Bruxelles

Online teaching feedback and ideas from university teachers


Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

  • New webpage with extensive Online Teaching Resources

UAM launched a complete new webpage with all kind of online teaching resources directed to teachers and students. The site includes not just 'how to...' tutorials but also methodological information about how to reorganize the academic work from physical to online format: 50% of digital activities (tutorials, chats, online class...), 40% of supervisory talks (join reflection sessions, analysis, review & exams...), 10% of time devoted to communicating with students (tutoring, solving doubts, etc).

Sapienza Università di Roma

  • Online classes, exams and graduation sessions

To facilitate off-campus teaching and learning activities, the InfoSapienza ICT Area selected various easy technological solutions for professors and students. These tools will help them manage and deliver digital contents remotely:

Stockholm university

Since 18 March all teaching at Stockholm University has been moved online across 53 academic departments and centres and the transition from a seminar room with a projector to a computer screen and a set of headphones has been swift.

  • Online teaching in full swing at the Department of Environmental Science

“At first, the transition felt very sudden and we all thought we didn’t have sufficient time to adapt the content of the course for online teaching"

Stockholm University is now four weeks into online teaching, with Zoom being the preferred video conferencing tool with which virtual lectures and presentations are being held. Marlene Ågerstrand, Assistant Professor at the Department of Environmental Science is one of the early adopters of the new teaching system:

  • Study, teach and work online - Stockholm University

The Centre for the Advancement of University Teaching has provided some tips and advice for university teachers on online teaching with additional tools, services and guidelines:

  • Stockholm University is switching to online thesis defences

When Sweden's universities are switching to distance learning, thesis defences are also managed online.

University of Tübingen

  • Digital teaching platform

Website for teaching staff with information on didactic and technical aspects and possibilities for 'digital teaching' in the summer semester

Source: Blog of Prof. Söderbergh Widding blog, Presient Stockholm University: